Mercyland - No Feet On The Cowling [2023 Remixed & Remastered Version]
Adapted from Aquarium Drunkard:
Over three decades after its original release Mercyland’s sole full-length album, No Feet On The Cowling, is finally seeing a proper reissue on Propeller Sound Recordings. Based in Athens, GA, comprised of David Barbe (vocals/bass), Andrew Donaldson (vocals/guitar) and Joel Suttles (drums), the seminal southern blast of post-punk that was Mercyland original run lasted from 1985-1991. Reformed to celebrate the 2022 release of We Never Lost A Single Game, I catch up with founder, David Barbe, who has gone on to produce a number of records likely found in your collection, act as 1/3 of Bob Mould’s Sugar and co-found Chase park Transduction studios. Barbe is also now the director of the University of Georgia’s Music Business Program.
Aquarium Drunkard: Three plus decades later…what has it been like revisiting the reissue of No Feet On The Cowling?
David Barbe: It was interesting. I had initially discarded the idea. I thought that my initial problems with the record were too great to overcome. Once I got into the tracks, I realized that it was really just a mix issue. The original mixes were just too slick. Too much dated 80’s processing. We weren’t into that at the time, but we were using an outside producer, Fred LeBlanc, and wanted to trust his instincts, let him do his job. Fred was experienced and an enthusiastic fan of the band. At the end of the day, his vision of the finished product just wound up being a little different than ours. At the time, without that much experience, we didn’t recognize that. I probably just should have produced it myself, but I wanted the band to be more of a democracy and didn’t want to dominate the proceedings. When I pulled up the tracks to remix, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. John Keane’s tracks were well-cut, and he had, interestingly enough, printed some effects on open tracks so I was able to follow his thought process. Between that and the track sheets, it was like having a road map of how it started out. My reason for wanting to remix was to put things back as we intended. Strip away affects. There was nothing very complicated about what we were doing at the time. The shows we were playing were packed small rooms late at night. The best ones were pretty explosive. Hopefully, the new mixes bring some of that back to life.
AD: I’m curious, do you still readily identify with the young man singing, or does it almost feel as if you yourself are now a spectator?
David Barbe: Probably a little bit of both. There are some songs, like “Guessing Time is Gone,” and “Chains,” that I felt strongly about at the time, and still hold up fairly well. There are some others that, let’s just say aren’t quite as timeless to me. You can’t go back and change who you were. Not yesterday and certainly not 30 years ago. I don’t worry about that. It is more of a snapshot of a period of time to me than anything else. In some ways, I suppose that does make me more of a spectator now, but hey, I was there. I still remember. (continue reading on DISCO)